Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Yesterday I picked up Adrianna Evans’ first album, Mary J. Blige’s live album and Keith Washington’s KW CD. Now, at one point in my life I had all these album in old school 94 tape form, which I can assume is buried beneath papers, dust and old memories. That reminds me of how I use to repair tapes with tape when they popped. My brother and I would unscrew or pull the tapes apart, fix or sometimes cut the tape that was tangled, and put the tape back together. The memories.
I am taking a slight hip hop hiatus. Lately rap music in general is just annoying me and I had to push up on some down tempo house and 90’s R&B to keep me motivated. In this space, I am open to new music, but I have little to no patience for commercial bullshit at all. That being said, I watched Audio Push’s Jerk video yesterday. I had my lips set to criticize, mostly because my friend said she liked the song and we have conflicting tastes in music at times. But I listened. I watched. I wasn’t annoyed, in fact, all the colors and the movement made me as content as a six month old baby in a playpen. I like colors and repetition; I’m simple.
It’s questionable as to whether I will ever bump “jerk” in my car (outside of my occasional road rage), and there is absolutely no chance that I will learn the dance. I was refreshed in a way. The video reminded me of EU’s Doing The Butt video, which was also a dance that we were all trying to do in junior high, don’t front. Of course the Butt was simple, and the jerk, well it’s not so simple unless you’re like 16. I was just happy to see what looked like a dance song and cool video without all the blingage, and sexual undertones.
Watching the video made me wonder, as I darken my 31st birthday, am I simply not “hip” to music these days, or am I correct in realizing that good music is no longer being circulated on the radio and most commercial music is complete bullshit? I am sure once the 80’s came roaring in, our parents were disturbed by our love and fascination for hip hop music, appalled that their commodores had been replaced with what they probably considered “bad music.” Believe me, it’s hard to be objective when some 17 year old kid can make a song about bustin’ on some chics back and throwing a blanket on it, talking about “superman dat ho.” This, a song our little kids recite with perfection and old couples step in the name of love to at weddings. Maybe I am being too harsh, I mean we did pop our pussies with luke while shakin’ what our mamas gave us, so have we just lost touch with this new generation of music or is it really just garbage?
Monday, August 24, 2009
I once told myself I could probably settle anywhere as long as I had an opportunity to travel, but my money has not been as long as I like it to be lately, and traveling mostly entails weekend trips to destination no farther than six to seven hours in a car, tops. I still want to see northern California. I want to visit Denver, Phoenix, go back to Philly, San Diego, Houston, back to NYC, New Jersey, hell even Idaho. I’ve never been one to sit still. I just never could. I like to observe and experience. I have a very nomadic nature. I don’t know when and if I’ll be able to settle for real, but I want to.
As a black lesbian, I have resigned to the fact that Cleveland is just not the best place for me to continue to grow. The longer I stay however, the longer I can appreciate Cleveland as an entire experience. It’s not a bad city if you are a little older, settled and have kids (maybe), or if you have a good long lasting career or even if you have lived here all your life and have family here, but I don’t, and as a black lesbian? Not so much.
I’ve been here since August 2002. Although I went to Kent State and visited Cleveland since 97, my real experience as an out black lesbian was not until I returned from Memphis in 2002. I have made very very very few connections with other black lesbians here. Most organizations tend to be geared towards white LGBT people, and the one black organization that I was involved with dismantled shortly after I got on board. There are no black gay clubs in Cleveland, and even if there were, those would not be the kinds of places to foster friendships and connections. I am not even speaking of romantic relationships either. I am speaking of professional, artistic and social connections. It seems as if the black LGBT community is very underground and very hard to find. I don’t even go to white bars or gay clubs anymore. The atmosphere is mostly boring, the music is mostly unbearable and people find the most uninviting ways to hit on you. It’s sad.
My goal since I have graduated was to enjoy my life. I have spent my entire life on the grind, and I want to be able to reap some of the shit I have worked my ass off for. I work two jobs, five days a week and spend most of my weekends trying to catch up on rest, play with the two cats I often neglect, spend time with friends, get SOME writing in and fuck with my photography a bit. But I mostly don’t rest. And I need to. I need to be in a place where I can work one job that pays me as much as the two I have would, so I can do other things with my life that I want to do and find the rest I can’t seem to find.
Some people call it “running away,” and perhaps I am, but I have always wanted to live in other places before I settled on one. I think more than not I am searching for my “home.” Buffalo will always be my heart. It holds my roots and a place I often call home when I tell people I am traveling there, but I am realizing that “home” is not always a concrete place. Home doesn’t always have an address, but when I find it, I’ll know it, and I will be happy there.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I suppose the question is legitimate enough, but we all know that when teenagers get that feeling, restrictions or not, they’re going to act on them with whomever. We teach about safe sex. Most of us know that regardless of our ideal scenarios for our young people, which most times is sprinkled with stories of self love and abstinence, they are surrounded by images and experiences that tell them different. We want our young people to love themselves first, but not only are we the worst teachers, conversations about self love is often had after hearts have been broken and egos have been frayed.
The technical act of sex is simple. We know where each part goes and how we want to feel. There are videos, manuscripts, porno mags, music, and classes that helps us strive for that perfect sexual episode. But sex is emotional whether we want to admit it or not. In marriages, the marriage is not consummated until the act of sex is carried out, but most marriages are consummated long before “I do’s” are spilled on the altered. Nevertheless, the creators of that tradition recognized sex as an important act in professing love. Sex is an emotional exchange as well as a physical one, but we are way more concerned about protecting the body rather than the heart.
Any kind of sex education I have come across lacks conversation about love and respect for self and each other. I believe that because conversations about love and respect are not coupled with sex education, our young people end up exploring the wild oasis of hormones with only knowledge of their vaginas and penises (sometimes not even that).
We should be talking about love and love relationships to our children way before they enter into pre-puberty, but like I mentioned before, we are the worst teachers. When our children see images of loveless behavior and patterns, they develop a very obscure idea of what love is or consists of. When we talk bad about our bodies and our mates, our children pick that up as being the norm. We say and do things that are negative towards ourselves and expect our children to know to do the opposite, but children don’t work that way unfortunately. We are their first teachers in words, in silence and in action. If we want our young people not to have sex, or choose their sex partner wisely, no matter what age they start to have sex, we have to first be more demonstrative in the area of love and respect.
There are probably several reasons why young people become promiscuous, but sometimes it is because they use sex as a measure stick for what love is. They look for love, acceptance and respect through sexual acts that often leave them feeling more void and lost than they were to begin with. In these scenarios, sex stops being a symbol and becomes a weapon.
Realistically, there can be no successful sex education program or conversation about who our children are choosing as sex partners until there is love education. Love education has to start with us, and if we don’t know how to teach it, then we better catch up, because we have work to do.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I love black people, especially black women, mostly because I am a black woman and I only date other black women. Don’t get me wrong, I think people should be able to be with whomever they fall madly in love with, but I think it is wrong to vilify a group of women or woman to conjure justification for your decisions. Why should there be justification in the first place?
As I see it, for whatever bad black men see in black women, I more often than not see more black women exercising a loyalty to black men and the black family that black men have stepped away from. This is not only my opinion, but a documented fact. More black men tend to marry white women than black women will marry white men.
My observations of course are purely my own opinion, but I see black men pass up very attractive and successful black women for white women who are less attractive and certainly less successful. I am not pulling this illustration from stories, I have seen it with my own eyes. I often wonder if there is an aspect of intimidation that black men are afraid to cop to. It makes me wonder if the success of black women make black men feel less needed, and whether that drives black men away from black women.
Then I thought, well perhaps this is a regional thing, a Midwest thing, but then my friend who is from California who lives in Houston has the same problem. She is very intelligent, very beautiful, very well put together, and very single looking for the right black man.
I have HUGE issues with interracial dating being used as a weapon to hurt as opposed to a real love experience. It seems as if black men and black women who date white people specifically, tend to have something bad to say about black men and women, which would make their connection with their white partner seem less authentic. I’m sure they don’t see it this way.
My observations really make me wonder, what IS the problem?
Thursday, August 13, 2009
All of this self loathing could be due to the increased amount of sugar I have dumped into my system for the last two weeks, or not. But my thoughts are massively consumed (massively) with trying to figure out how to bridge these gaping holes in the most important relationships (or lack there of) in my life.
I’ve always wanted a family. I didn’t know how it would look, but I always wanted to be a better parent than what my parents were to me. My cousin use to kid with me and tell me I’d have a little girl, because I was such a tomboy. This of course was pre-announcement of me being a lesbian. I still wanted kids though. Of course, with no man in the picture I’d have to find creative alternatives. Because I am very fickle and indecisive, my decision to have children would fluctuate depending on where I was in my life, but my life has been a constant grind with little to no down time. I am constantly on the run, spiritually and physically, and it is exhausting. I suppose that is why my decision to have children has never been so etched in stone. People want kids because THEY want a family THEY want to raise this brilliant kid(s). That’s dope. But I look back on my own childhood and how unhappy I was, how my parents did not spend much quality time with me, time I desperately needed from them with no outlet to express how much it was needed.
My fear about having kids is that I won’t be able to provide for them what they need. Parents are all about giving their kids what they didn’t have, and that is usually expressed through material symbolism. That is not the kind of parent I wish to be. I still struggle very much so with the shadows of my childhood. At almost 31, I look back when I was 8 or 9, or 12 or 15 and can still cry sincerely about the magnitude of loneliness and sense of abandonment I felt back then. I don’t want to work two jobs and never see my kid. I don’t want to travel and have to leave my kid behind, or not find the time to be interested in what he or she is interested in and enjoy them grow. I don’t think I’d be the ideal parent right now, and although I still want a family one day, maybe never. And I have to be okay with never.
So anyway I am having quite the year. I broke up with my ex several months ago, and I think the reality of that is starting to come down on me hard. I’d be lying if I said I was okay with that too. Time will heal all of these wounds—I hope. Although time has been very lousy at healing this particular thing.
I came across this video on a message board. In general I was disgusted. My secondary thought was that I was afraid for these women. My last, but somehow not so fleeting thought was, rape. Young women are often preached to about how to present themselves. We are taught to act like young ladies, hands folded, legs crossed, and encouraged to hold unto our virginities for the right man. Men are taught that “men are men,” as an subtle way to say, “put your dick anywhere.” The double standards between men and women at times makes no sense to me, and to teach young men that lack of self control is OK or a trait of being a man is pretty played at this point.
The question was asked, whether or not these women deserved to be touched. You would think a resounding “hell no” would cover it, but men and women alike argue that what you have on can give others the right to make you a sexual buffet. Really? Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of women dress for attention and that speaks to insecurities, and I am sure they expect and want men to notice. It however becomes an issue of safety when a woman can grab the attention of a mob of men, tempting them to act—tempting, not telling.
Sure, when you go to the club, expect inappropriate things to happen. Nice conversation and an exchange about what your favorite movie is, is probably not going to happen. To expect to be respected is not so unrealistic, but horniness and alcohol does not produce a respectable night.
The moral of this story is simple really, even though we know how men should act, we need to be real honest with ourselves as women as to how they are going to act. I saw the angry faces of some of these women in that video, who walked through that crowd of men—drive by ass slapping in progress. But as women we have the responsibility to be mindful as well. Wear what you wear, but if you don’t want to be touched, slapped or fondled, why test the waters by sashaying through a crowd of sexually uncontrolled men who clearly can’t keep their hands to themselves? Women who do this WANT the attention, but they are not prepared most times for when that want becomes reality and spirals out of control. Yeah I know homegirl, you should be able to walk down the street butt ass naked, daring a muthafucka to touch your voluptuous bod (yes bod), but that is not how a lot of men choose to act when you go to clubs like these. Be mindful, travel in groups and most of all, carry your mace.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
If we say trusting easily is stupid, than it will be. We contemplate and accept any and every negative outcome to every situation. We don’t imagine the best case scenario, because we have compiled so many past bad experiences in our heads, that to fathom anything positive is an unattainable fantasy. It is crazy and goes against this idea of happiness that we often boast we want. Many of us navigate all of our relationships this way, whether they be platonic or romantic. Our lips say one thing, but our actions and thoughts paint an entirely different picture. I will share with all of you something to take on your journeys, something we should already know, but we so easily forget: Your thoughts, do and will become your reality. What goes into our heads will come out. As long as we continue to flood the walls of our minds with garbage and mistruths about trust and the motives of people, than the reality is not far from fruition.
Perception is really just perception, however we make our perceptions, which are often weighed down with the toxicity of our erroneous opinions, reality. When we begin treating our perceptions as reality, that is surely what they will become, so perhaps the old saying is right after all. Besides, it is much more easy for us to be victims and cry foul as reasoning for our unwillingness to be open and trust. What's funny is, people have been protecting their hearts forever, promoting mind fuckery as an ingredient to establish anything worth the long haul. Our over protective inquisitiveness towards the good or bad intentions of people is not what builds trust. Sometimes we act like brats with our trust, when we think we’re brave hearts. You cannot acquire trust if you are unwilling to trust. This idea of building relationships with an open hand and a closed heart is a bit ass backwards if you think about it, but hey, we all want what we want.
I doubt many people would seriously consider trusting people at face value. People play games. People are manipulative. People are cruel. But that also means we all play games, are manipulative and cruel. As soon as we stop playing games and begin to trust, perhaps it will give other people the courage to do the same. Perhaps it’s time to start a new tradition, because is the old one really working that well anyway?